Friday, April 22, 2016

Bargain Ebook: TODAY ONLY: Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School) by Jen Calonita for $1.99



TODAY ONLY: Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School) by Jen Calonita is on sale for $1.99 for the ebook edition.

Book description:

Would you send a villain to do a hero's job?

Flunked is an exciting new twisted fairy tale from the award-winning author of the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series. "Charming fairy-tale fun." -Sarah Mlynowski, author of the New York Times bestselling Whatever After series.

Gilly wouldn't call herself wicked, exactly...but when you have five little brothers and sisters and live in a run-down boot, you have to get creative to make ends meet. Gilly's a pretty good thief (if she does say so herself).

Until she gets caught.

Gilly's sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School where all of the teachers are former (super-scary) villains like the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, and Cinderella's Wicked Stepmother. Harsh. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there's more to this school than its heroic mission. There's a battle brewing and Gilly has to wonder: can a villain really change?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Book: Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff



Officially released today is Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff, Shurtliff's third fairy tale retelling for younger (and older who are ageless) readers, following her Rump and Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Okay, I will admit I don't get overly excited about Red Riding Hood retellings unless something really unique is in them. This is a fun series, so that is a bonus, but what actually had me smiling at this book description is the inclusion of Goldie (you know, Goldilocks) as one of the main characters. I am now hoping she gets her own book next. Because Goldie and those bears don't get as many retellings and interpretations as they deserve. And I think that is because Goldie is a less likeable character, because she is thoughtless and destructive, but there is so much scope for the imagination for that which has yet to be explored.

Shurtliff is certainly exploring some of the non-princess characters that children are most familiar with and that thrills me no end. And readers agree judging from the star ratings of her books on book retailers.

Book description:

"Red is the most wonder-filled fairy tale of them all!”—Chris Grabenstein, New York Times Bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library.

Red is not afraid of the big bad wolf. She’s not afraid of anything . . . except magic.
But when Red’s granny falls ill, it seems that only magic can save her, and fearless Red is forced to confront her one weakness.

With the help of a blond, porridge-sampling nuisance called Goldie, Red goes on a quest to cure Granny. Her journey takes her through dwarves’ caverns to a haunted well and a beast’s castle. All the while, Red and Goldie are followed by a wolf and a huntsman—two mortal enemies who seek the girls’ help to defeat each other. And one of them just might have the magical solution Red is looking for. . . .

Liesl Shurtliff weaves a spellbinding tale, shining the spotlight on a beloved character from her award-winning debut, Rump.

And don't miss Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk, "a delightful story of family, perseverance and courage" (Booklist).

Monday, April 11, 2016

New Book: In Defense of the Princess: How Plastic Tiaras and Fairytale Dreams Can Inspire Smart, Strong Women by Jerramy Fine



In Defense of the Princess: How Plastic Tiaras and Fairytale Dreams Can Inspire Smart, Strong Women by Jerramy Fine was released in March. This is another entry in the long standing argument about princesses and princess culture, especially as fostered by Disney, and thus fairy tales are pulled into the fray.

Book description:

It’s no secret that most girls, at some point, love all things princess: the poofy dresses, the plastic tiaras, the color pink. Even grown-up women can’t get enough of royal weddings and royal gossip. Yet critics claim the princess dream sets little girls up to be weak and submissive, and allows grown women to indulge in fantasies of rescue rather than hard work and self-reliance.

Enter Jerramy Fine – an unabashed feminist who is proud of her life-long princess obsession and more than happy to defend it. Through her amusing life story and in-depth research, Fine makes it clear that feminine doesn’t mean weak, pink doesn’t mean inferior, and girliness is not incompatible with ambition. From 9th century Cinderella to modern-day Frozen, from Princess Diana to Kate Middleton, from Wonder Woman to Princess Leia, Fine valiantly assures us that princesses have always been about power, not passivity. And those who love them can still be confident, intelligent women.

Provocative, insightful, but also witty and personal, In Defense of the Princess empowers girls, women, and parents to dream of happily ever after without any guilt or shame.

Here are two page shots to be read as an excerpt for your consideration, pages 33 & 34 of the book. You can click on these images to see them larger for reading or go to Amazon and look inside the book viewer to read them there.




I haven't read the entire book but skimmed with some keyword searches of the text. The argument that the literary tales often offer strong women to be used as role models is one I think we overall agree with here in the SurLaLune fandom. 

So here's book that uses studies/research and personal experiences to create an offering from a Princess culture apologist. Add it to your lists if this is one of your topics of interest!

Friday, April 8, 2016

New Book: The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh



The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh was released in January. Minor spoiler alert, this is a book that uses Russian folklore, primarily the Baba Yaga character, who has just exploded in retellings the past several years. It's aimed at preteens, but sounds like it would be fun for any age that enjoys a Baba Yaga appearance.

Book description:

Twelve-year-old Mary Hayes can't stand her orphanage for another night. But when an attempted escape through the stove pipe doesn't go quite as well as she'd hoped, Mary fears she'll be stuck in the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies forever.

The very next day, a mysterious woman named Madame Z appears at the orphanage requesting to adopt Mary, and the matron's all too happy to get the girl off her hands. Soon, Mary is fed a hearty meal, dressed in a clean, new nightgown and shown to a soft bed with blankets piled high. She can hardly believe she isn't dreaming!

But when Mary begins to explore the strange nearby town with the help of her new friend, Jacob, she learns a terrifying secret about Madame Z's true identity. If Mary's not careful, her new home might just turn into a nightmare.

Award-winning author Katherine Marsh draws from Russian fairytales in this darkly funny middle-grade fantasy novel


Friday, April 1, 2016

New Book: Far Out Fairy Tales Compendium



Far Out Fairy Tales is officially released today on April Fool's Day. The first Far Out Fairy Tales were released individually back in February with the four titles listed below. Two more titles were released in early 2016. Now the first four tales--and another unknown fifth tale according to the cover, but not the description--are available in a compendium. These are fairy tales with some science fiction inspiration, too.

Book description for Far Out Fairy Tales:

What do you get when classic fairy tales are twisted about, turned inside out, and reworked for the graphic novel format? Far Out Fairy Tales! Discover what Snow White would be like if she were raised by robots. Find out how Cinderella's story plays out when she walks the path of the ninja. Play along when three billy goats named Gruff get stuck inside a video game. Chase down the Big Bad Wolf with the help of a superpowered Red Riding Hood! Each fairy tale revision holds true to the spirit of the original while adding a modern twist to the classic tales we know and love. Experience fairy tales like never before in this innovative series of full-color comic books for kids!


Ninja-rella: A Graphic Novel (Far Out Fairy Tales) by Joey Comeau (Author), Omar Lozano (Illustrator)

Book description:

Cinderella's stepmother and two stepsisters treat her like dirt. Each and every day, they force her to clean their clothes, cook their meals, and only give her rags to wear and crumbs to eat. But each night, in secret and in shadows, Cinderella trains to be a ninja! More than anything, Cinderella yearns to become the Prince's personal bodyguard. When the opportunity to prove her worth to the Prince finally arrives in the form of an invitation to a royal costume ball, Cinderella's stepmother won't let her go! But this time around, Ninja-rella isn't going to take ""no"" for an answer . . .


Red Riding Hood, Superhero: A Graphic Novel (Far Out Fairy Tales) by Otis Frampton (Author, Illustrator)

Book description:

While taking a tour of Area 54 with her grandmother, the President of the United States, little Ruby Topper discovers a mysterious little alien carrying a red hood. When Ruby dons the crimson cape and cowl, it grants her AMAZING SUPERPOWERS! But will her newfound abilities be enough to save the White House -- and her grandmother -- from the rampaging Big Bad Wolf-Bot?



Snow White and the Seven Robots: A Graphic Novel (Far Out Fairy Tales) by Louise Simonson (Author), Jimena Sanchez S. (Illustrator)

Book description:

Far, far away, on a distant planet called Techworld, a little girl named Snow White is born. Created by the planets smartest minds to be the perfect scientist, Snow immediately shows a knack for working with electronics. The Queen, fearing for her crown, exiles Snow White so she cannot grow up and take the Queens place as the most intelligent person on the planet. However, Snow White's willingness to help those in need -- especially the downtrodden robots of Techworld -- earns her many friends, and they are all quite eager to help her cause.


Super Billy Goats Gruff: A Graphic Novel (Far Out Fairy Tales) by Sean Tulien (Author), Fern Cano (Illustrator)

Book description:

Once upon a time, three billy goats named Gruff were traveling to the hillside to snack on some green grass -- when they suddenly find themselves trapped inside a video game! The good news: the three billy goat brothers become SUPER billy goats! One becomes a Warrior, one becomes a Ninja, and one becomes a Wizard. The bad news: the green field of grass is gone -- and in its place is Hillside Castle, a dangerous dungeon filled with creepy-crawlies and fantastical foes! Can the goats make their way through the castle to get their grass -- or will the toothsome troll named Final Boss feast on them for his lunch?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mother Goose Refigured: A Critical Translation of Charles Perrault's Fairy Tales (Series in Fairy-Tale Studies) by Christine A. Jones



Mother Goose Refigured: A Critical Translation of Charles Perrault's Fairy Tales (Series in Fairy-Tale Studies) by Christine A. Jones was the first book I learned of at ICFA 37 and promptly preordered once I had access to my computer. Jones presented a paper about her work on this book and I was beyond excited.

I don't have time today to parse my notes. But the short version of why this book is important? It is a fresh translation of Perrault in English, something that hasn't really happened ever, since it was first translated hundreds of years ago. I am often asked to recommend a Perrault translation but there aren't really any unique or definitive ones. I have some minor preferences, but I say minor because most of the differences between existing translations are minor.

Based on her presentation, Jones has attempted to approach the text with new eyes which brings new perceptions of the text to the readers. I will pull my notes and share some of the intricacies and challenges she faced. As an amateur translator myself, I was impressed with the thoughtfulness, research and knowledge that she demonstrated. So, yes, I am excited about a new English translation of Perrault that tries to be faithful to the original French text but not beholden to the cliches and expectations created by roughly three hundred years of the first translations.

Book description:

Charles Perrault published Histoires ou Contes du temps passé ("Stories or Tales of the Past") in France in 1697 during what scholars call the first "vogue" of tales produced by learned French writers. The genre that we now know so well was new and an uncommon kind of literature in the epic world of Louis XIV's court. This inaugural collection of French fairy tales features characters like Sleeping Beauty, Blue Beard, and Puss-in-Boots that over the course of the eighteenth century became icons of social history in France and abroad. Translating the original Histoires ou Contes means grappling not only with the strangeness of seventeenth-century French but also with the ubiquity and familiarity of plots and heroines in their famous English personae.

From its very first translation in 1729, Histoires ou Contes has depended heavily on its English translation for enduring recognition and the genesis of character names. This dependable recognition makes new, innovative translation challenging. For example, can Perrault's invented name "Cendrillon" be retranslated into anything other than "Cinderella"? And what would happen to our understanding of the tale if it were? Is it possible to sidestep the Anglophone tradition and view the seventeenth-century French anew? Why not leave Cinderella alone, as she is deeply ingrained in cultural lore and beloved the way she is? Such questions inspired the translations of these tales in Mother Goose Refigured, which aim to regenerate new critical interest in heroines and heroes that seem frozen in time. The book offers introductory essays on the history of interpretation and translation, before retranslating each of the Histoires ou Contes with the aim to prove that if Perrault's is a classical frame of reference, these tales nonetheless benefit from a modern readership.

Designed for scholars and their classrooms, Mother Goose Refigured promises to inspire new academic interpretations of the Mother Goose tales, particularly among scholars who do not have access to the original French and have relied for their critical inquiries on traditional renderings of the tales.

Friday, March 25, 2016

NRA Rewrites Fairy Tales With More Firearms, Less Bloodshed


Illustration by Amy Hulse, Studio Coronado

So SurLaLune tries to be apolitical as much as possible. So I am going to not comment but will share the following article and links from NPR and the NRA: NRA Rewrites Fairy Tales With More Firearms, Less Bloodshed by CAMILA DOMONOSKE

Adding guns to the world of the Brothers Grimm drastically reduces death rates, according to a study — well, OK, according to a couple of stories published by the NRA.

So far, there are only two data points. And they're imaginary. But the trendline is clear: In the NRA's reimagined fairy tales, putting rifles in the hands of children creates a safer world.

The NRA Family site published its first reimagined fairy tale — "Little Red Riding Hood (Has A Gun)" in January, and followed up with "Hansel and Gretel (Have Guns)" last week.

On Twitter, inspired by the series, a few people have been inventing their own #NRAfairytales, imagining tales that begin with "once upon a time" and end with a bang.

There's much more, so click through to read.

And that's all I have to say about that. Thanks to Val for sharing!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Bargain Ebook: The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh for $2.99



Hey y'all, I have been home from my trip to Orlando for about an hour now. I need a nap. Tonight I plan to start composing the posts for this week with book recommendations and such from the ICFA37 conference. For now, I wanted to share this bargain priced book--one that was discussed at the conference--that just dropped to a great bargain ebook price.

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh is on sale in ebook format for $2.99! That's a drop of several dollars, the lowest price I've seen for it. The book has been a bestseller and well-received. It is also part of a series with The Rose and the Dagger slated for release in April.

Book description:

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

IAFA 37 Conference: Day 1



Hello all!

I send greetings from Orlando, FL where I am attending IAFA 37. After some airport adventures way too early this morning, we--hubby John is traveling with me although he's not attending the conference itself--arrived safely at the Marriott Hotel where the conference is held. I attended the opening session and the first papers session today and worked to get my tired brain into an academic mode.

First up was The Opening Panel: Wonder Tales with Moderator: Gary K. Wolfe, Delia Sherman (replacing absent Terri Windling), Holly Black and Cristina Bacchilega. The discussion centered around "wonder" as a term and experience, from the perspective of both creators and scholars. Some intriguing comments and questions were shared which I don't feel up to trying to convey here tonight as I write. Quite frankly, I would fail even with the helps of my notes to convey the nuances and tenor of the discussion.

Next up was the first set of sessions for the conference. It is challenging to pick one for each session but this time I chose to attend:

The Power of the Female Body in YA Fairy Tale Adaptations
Chair: Amanda Firestone
The University of Tampa

“And they lived ever after, whether they were happy about it or not”: Rediscovering Possibilities for Female Agency and Exploring
Trauma in Re-Imagined Young Adult Fairy Tales
Annika Herb
University of Newcastle, Australia

Your Body is a Wonderland: Fantasy and Desire in Francesca Lia Block’s The Rose and the Beast
Mandy Mahaffey
Valencia College


Annika Herb's paper primarily discussed the short story, "Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tongue" by Christine Johnson in Grim (Harlequin Teen). The story subverts the classic moral of "Diamonds and Toads" or I should say ATU 480 tales. And, yes, there was some amusement in the audience that this was published under the Harlequin imprint, too.

While both papers were strong and brought much to a fun discussion at the end of the session, this paper resonated with me. I am near finished editing an anthology of ATU 480: Kind and Unkind Girls tales of which Diamonds and Toads is a variant (my upcoming collection has over 150 variants of ATU 480 stories) so discussion of a modern take on the tale--a fascinating interpretation at that--was a fine start to the conference for me. I don't want to spoil it here, but really, go read that story if you are at all familiar with Diamonds and Toads.

This is a short story I will need to revisit since I quickly skimmed it when the book was released a few years ago. I own the book in paper instead of ebook, so that will need to await my return home.



Mandy Mahaffey primarily discussed "Snow" in Francesca Lia Block's The Rose and The Beast: Fairy Tales Retold which I remember pretty vividly from when it was released. I was a YA librarian then in Burbank, CA and that was the only book I ever had challenged. Not surprising considering its content perhaps, but it was on the shelf next to The Gossip Girl series which I thought warranted challenging on so many other levels. This book, while not to all tastes, was important to those needing its fairy tale interpretations, rather Angela Carter for teens.

Anyway, back to the session at hand. The Q&A had some wonderful questions and comments that sparked thoughts and ideas. One request was for feminist fairy tale interpretations for some of our youngest readers, in the ages 4-6 range. A lot of the usual suspects came up, such as Cinder Edna, Princess Furball, Tatterhood, The Paper Bag Princess, Sleeping Ugly and more.

My fatigued brain totally spaced on a more recent title: Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups by Stephanie Clarkson (Author), Brigette Barrager (Illustrator). I reviewed the book last year after sharing it with my then 5-year-old niece. It's not a book that shouts feminist messaging, but once you look past the humorous delivery, it really is exactly that.


Another newer title offered for consideration was Shannon Hale's The Princess in Black which doesn't retell a specific fairy tale, but definitely plays with the genre. My niece, now six, adores this series and was just as thrilled to unwrap the most recent release--The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party--for her birthday last month as the bigger, more expensive presents.


So if you can think of more to share, please do so here in the comments. Even if you aren't here at IAFA, you can join the after discussions with us here!

Now I'm off to rest and coddle my brain before exposing it to all the new discussions that await it tomorrow.